Media reports since 2003 have suggested the federal government may make a financial commitment to provide federal funds to develop an east-west power grid. A major component of the proposed east-west power grid would be a new transmission line from Manitoba to southern Ontario.
In June 2003, then Premier Eves of Ontario and Premier Doer of Manitoba signed a memorandum of understanding which sets out objectives and activity for joint hydro development and transfer of power from Manitoba to Ontario. The MOU potentially includes work on future dams, including Conawapa, and the east - west transmission grid for Canada.
Download Ontario-Manitoba Hydro MOU (DOC)
A feasibility study commissioned by Manitoba and Ontario under the MOU between Manitoba and Ontario was to be completed by November 30, 2003. The preliminary report (dated September 2004) outlining the potential for energy transfers between Manitoba and Ontario was released in Winnipeg September 31, 2004. The report examines possible power supply arrangements between Manitoba and Ontario, in particular generation and transmission infrastructure to meet a growing need for power in Ontario.
The report recommends proceeding to the next stage of the 'Clean Energy Transfer Initiative' ('CETI'), which would involve detailed engineering and cost analysis, especially regarding transmission line options, comprehensive consultations, the initiation of commercial negotiations, and political and policy decisions. In a September 30, 2004 press release, the Manitoba Government indicated that Manitoba and Ontario would proceed with a detailed technical study to follow-up on the feasibility study. As of July 2009, no public information about this technical study exists.
Download September 2004 report The Clean Energy Transfer - Preliminary Assessment of the Potential for a Clean Energy Transfer Between Manitoba and Ontario (PDF)
View September 30, 2004 Manitoba Government press release
Visit Manitoba Wildlands' Hydro Research page and the document Clean Energy Transfer Initiative - Manitoba Wildlands Review for an analysis of the Clean Energy Transfer report.
Manitoba Premier Gary Doer addressed the Empire Club in Toronto in October 2, 2004. The potential and justification for an east-west grid featured prominently in his speech. The Premier emphasized the issues of reliability and accessibility of hydro power within Canada, environmental benefits and meeting Kyoto targets, and economic feasibility as primary reasons for moving forward on planning for an east-west transmission grid amongst Canadian provinces.
Download the Premier Doer's address to the Empire Club (see last three pages) (DOC)